Proposed bill would ban debit card surcharges in California
2010-02-04 · By Editor
In the interest of protecting consumers, Sen. Jenny Oropeza today introduced legislation to stop retailers from imposing surcharges on those who use their debit cards.
“During these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to protect consumers and ensure they are not nickel and dimed out of their hard earned pay,” Oropeza, D-Long Beach, said after introducing Senate Bill 933. “Regardless of whether you’re buying milk for the kids or gas for the car, having an additional fee piled on just for using your own debit card is unconscionable.”
Oropeza cited figures showing that since 2005, more than half of total transactions nationwide have been paid with a credit or debit card. Beginning in 2006, more purchases were made with debit cards than credit cards, she added.
While charging consumers for using a credit card is currently prohibited, no similar protection exists for consumers using their debit card.
Consumers Union, sponsors of SB 933, agreed with Oropeza’s goals. “Especially at a time when more consumers are moving toward using debit cards to be more financially responsible, they should not be made to pay an extra fee for using a debit or prepaid card,” said Michelle Jun, a staff attorney in Consumers Union’s San Francisco office.
A date for the first policy hearing on Oropeza’s measure has not yet been set.